Fire Safety In Communal Flats
Tips for landlords and property management companies in relation to fire safety in flats
- Never alter the front door to a flat, they are designed and engineered in line with fire regulations; even altering the letterbox or door handle can affect the fire safety in the flat and in the communal areas.
- A smoke alarm must be equipped on each story of the premises where there is a room wholly or partially used for living accommodation. A carbon monoxide alarm also must be equipped if the room is used for living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. Checks must be made on these by or on behalf of the landlord on the day a new tenancy begins.
- A full fire risk assessment should have been carried out on the property, and reviewed regularly, this does apply only to the communal areas and includes the exterior of the property and any cladding. It is advised however to carry out the assessment on all parts of the building.
- Keep escape routes clear, including staircases from obstructions and combustible (flammable) materials. Bins, shoes, bicycles, plant pots, mobility scooters etc should not be in the area of escape routes.
- All doors, partitions, fanlights, etc that lead onto communal areas must have at least 30 minutes fire resistance, they need to be in good order, and self-closing without excessive gaps.
- There must be adequate fire separation between each flats and common areas.
- Emergency lighting and signs need to be visible and working.
- All electrics must be in working order with no fire risk. Combustible materials must not be stored near electrical intakes.
- Any fire equipment must be in good working order, and if there are staff on the premises such as care takers, they need to have the appropriate training to use the equipment.
- All residents and staff must be given fire information that is specific to the building. They should know what to do in the event of a fire, how to report any concern or issues, and how to maintain good practice such as not blocking communal areas etc.
- Door locks should have a thumb turn device so keys do not have to be used to exit the premises if there is a fire or the alarm sounds. Accommodation should be made if the user has issues with using the thumb turn device for example if they suffer from arthritis.
Remember these are just tips, it is important to keep up to date with legislation such as those in the Housing Act 2004, Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005), and Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 etc. *What legally applies to the property in question can alter depending on what type of property it is and the specifications of it *
A risk assessment will be able to identify any areas which are non-compliant by law and make recommendations to bring these up to legal standard. See what OmniZone can do for you by calling us on: 0345 646 0122.